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PLOS Describes Effort Using Genetic Diversity to Determine How Invasive Plant Got to Australia, More

Researchers from Australia's Charles Sturt University examined the genetic diversity of Paterson's curse, Echium plantagineum, to work out how it was introduced into Australia. As they describe in PLOS One, the researchers sampled E. plantagineum from the Iberian Peninsula, which is part of its native range as well as from the UK where it is not native and Australia where it is an invasive weed. They found that haplotype 4 was common in Australia as well as in the UK, but not elsewhere, suggesting the UK as a likely source of the plant. Because all the haplotypes they uncovered in Australia were also present in South Africa, they also concluded that South African stocks likely also contributed to the E. plantagineum of Australia.

A Brazilian team of researchers used qPCR to analyze 84 genes and 384 miRNAs in tissue samples from patients with abdominal aortic aneurysm and organ donor controls, in another PLOS One paper. From this, they identified 10 genes and 59 miRNAs that were differentially expressed between the two groups and uncovered 10 paired interactions, involving five differentially expressed genes and nine miRNAs. After validation in a separate cohort, there remained interactions among the ALOX5, PTGIS, and CX3CL1 genes, and the miRNAs-193a-3p, 125b-5p, and 150-5p. These interactions, the researchers noted, highlight the eicosanoid synthesis and metalloproteinase/TIMP pathways may be involved in the development of abdominal aortic aneurysm.

University of California, Davis, and Emory University researchers report in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases that boat traffic influences the genetic diversity of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits dengue virus, in the Peruvian Amazon. They used microsatellite markers to analyze Ae. aegypti from the port city Iquitos and six nearly communities located on rivers. They found that population structure was not correlated to the communities' distance from the city, but rather suggested that mosquito gene flow was heaviest between the communities with higher boat traffic. This, they note, lends credence to the notion that human transportation networks contribute to the spread of Ae. aegypti.